“For the unconscious always tries to produce an impossible situation in order to force the individual to bring out his very best. Otherwise one stops short of one’s best, one is not complete, one does not realize oneself. What is needed is an impossible situation where one has to renounce one’s own will and one’s own wit and do nothing but wait and trust to the impersonal power of growth and development. When you are up against the wall, be still and put roots like a tree, until clarity comes from deeper sources to see over that wall.”
— Dr. Carl Jung
“Only the truly kind man knows how to love and how to hate.”
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Table of Contents
Imagination, Fantasy and Talking to Yourself 3
A Model for the Patient-Facilitator Connection 21
Dialogue Style and Choice of Words 37
Relaxation, Deepening and Strengthening 41
Desensitizing Techniques 45
Acceptance and Forgiveness 53
Resolution and Application in Everyday Life 57
Carl Jung 59
Act of Will 65
Personal Drawings 66
Dr John Upledger 79
CranioSacral Therapy Curriculum Flow Chart 82
Upledger Institute International and Its Educational Curriculums 83
CranioSacral Therapy 84
CranioSacral Therapy Courses 85
International Alliance of Healthcare Educators® Programs 86
Submitting Your News Release 87
Model for Research Case Study or Single-Subject Design 89
UI-Approved Study Groups 90
Imagery and Dialogue: pictures presented by the mind and thoughts placed into sound;
an inner reflective process bringing forth from the nonconscious areas of our psyche. Every human being is an amalgam of characters — some constructive and some destructive.
Our goal as guides or facilitators is to synthesize these subpersonalities into new and more vital energies. We are not here to destroy or dismiss parts of anyone, but rather to find the message that each subpersonality brings. This takes careful, gentle and patient process work.
SER Technique: Mastering the Inner Physician presents a dynamic adjunct to the work of CranioSacral Therapy that helps us to gently enter the world of the client’s Inner Physician — the place where synthesis may begin. Using the cranial rhythm and soft touch of CranioSacral Therapy, the technique interweaves concepts of Jung, Pearles and Assogioli to assist us in accessing the client’s deeper state of consciousness. With this technique we are guided by imagery as it is presented by the client rather than serve as the guides to imagery. The objective is to greet these images, learn what they know, and discern what information they can provide toward the client’s healing.
This CranioSacral approach to imagery and dialogue also aids our growth as facilitators. Most people are on a continuous journey to find more techniques and tools to bring to the table; this journey is usually outside of themselves. We who are trained in CranioSacral Therapy, however, have embarked on an inner journey involving SomatoEmotional Release. We already realize
the value of getting to know and working with our inner “cast of characters.”
As Dr. Upledger says, “What is therapeutic imagery but active imagination and dialogue but talking to yourself?” Yet most of these naturally given gifts have been delegated to the dark corners of the nonconscious due to “negative indoctrinations.” It is our job as facilitators to overcome this type of indoctrination — in both our clients and ourselves.
Because our skills and abilities depend largely on how readily nonconscious information comes into our awareness, this course supports exploration of our behaviors, feelings, images, and
In SER Technique: Mastering the Inner Physician we will explore techniques to bring our nonconscious into more material existence. We will practice drawing our nonconscious images and dialoguing with them face to face — using the human body as the bridge between our inner and outer realities. We will learn how to use sounding vowels and other internal vibrations, along
with a 10-step protocol designed to enhance imagery and dialogue. We will discuss Dr. Upledger’s
ideas on imagery and dialogue and the psychosynthesis map in greater detail. And we will practice using the significance detector.
As we become more aware of our own uniqueness and motivations, we can move toward becoming more integrated selves. And we can learn how our new discoveries may be brought into the world of action.
From Webster’s dictionary:
Image: (1) representation of a person or thing; (2) a mental picture.
Imagination: (1) the act or power of forming mental images of what is not present; (2) the act or power of creating new ideas by combing previous ideas.
Dialogue: interchange of ideas by open discussion.
Empathy: ability to share in another’s feelings, emotions or thoughts.
In “Star Trek” the prime directive is to not interfere with a culture’s evolution. Our prime directive is similar: to not impose our own agenda onto our clients. Clients trust us. They
allow us into their inner world. In this sacred land we must walk gently and leave none of our own footprints, but rather follow the path laid out by the client’s subpersonality.
Assogioli says that empathy can be achieved by actively arousing or letting oneself be pervaded by an absorbing human interest in the person one wills to understand. It means approaching
him or her with sympathy, with respect, and even with wonder, as a “thou,” thus establishing a deeper relationship.
CranioSacral Therapy adds touch to this feeling of empathy in what we call the “melding” process. We need to imagine ourselves working from an expanded yet very present and focused space. Doors may open from many levels of the psyche, allowing us to enter the inner journey with
We may instantaneously receive images or be cast into our own issues and feelings during this process. We may sense changes in perception of time, space, rhythm and tissue. This is the beauty of our work — a constant shape-shifting and growth, a continuous process of discovery, both within ourselves and others.
Imagination, Fantasy and
Talking to Yourself
(Text excerpted from SomatoEmotional Release and Beyond by John E. Upledger, DO, OMM, Fifth Printing, 1999.)
It is bedtime. The light in my room is off but my bedroom door is ajar and some light from the hallway is coming in. Mom has tucked me in and kissed me goodnight. She doesn’t understand about the monster in my closet. The monster always tries to get me when the light in my room
is turned off and I’m supposed to sleep. He is looking out of the closet now and I can see his yellow eyes shining. He wants to kidnap me and take me away forever. He starts to come out
of the closet. I’m so scared. My heart is pounding out of my chest and I can’t make a sound. And just in the nick of time, my angel Jennifer appears on the windowsill, all shiny and sparkly. All she has to do is point her magic wand at the monster and he stops in his tracks. Then he starts slowly to back into the closet where he stays. He looks at Jennifer and makes ugly faces
Jennifer says, “John, don’t be so afraid, I’ll always be here to protect you.” I still can’t make a sound or move a muscle, but my heart quiets down a little. Jennifer comes closer and spreads some magic dust on me so I can talk and move. Jennifer says again, “John, I really will protect you from the monster.”
And I say, “But what if you don’t get here in time and the monster takes me into the closet with him? He has a secret tunnel from the closet to Monsterland and if he gets me there I’ll never
Jennifer replies, “John, please believe me. I really won’t ever let the monster take you away or hurt you even a little bit.”
“But Jennifer, what if he sneaks out of the closet when you aren’t watching and takes me where you never could find me?”
“John,” it’s my mother’s voice as she enters my bedroom, “are you talking about monsters again? And who are you talking to?” Mom turns on my bedroom light. “See, there isn’t anyone here. Who are you talking to?”
I try to tell Mom about the monster in the closet who comes out to get me when the bedroom light is off. “But you’re still here,” Mom says. “The monster didn’t get you.” Opening the closet door and turning on the lights, she adds, “And look! There isn’t any monster in the closet.” I can’t look, I’m afraid.
“And who were you talking to about the monsters?” Mom says.
“I was talking to my angel Jennifer. She saved me. She scared the monster away.”
“That’s enough foolishness. Go to sleep, it’s late. Forget about monsters and angels. There isn’t anyone here. You are letting your imagination run away with you. You’ve got to stop imagining things.”
I feel humiliated and frustrated. Mom never believes me about the monsters or about Jennifer. Why won’t she believe me?
For my 5th birthday, a dream came true. I got a 12-bass accordion and beginner’s lessons at the Wurlitzer Music Studio in Detroit. When I was 3 we had a New Year’s Eve party at our house and a man came over with his accordion — a “stomach squeezer,” I called it. I was entranced. Dad bought me a little toy concertina to placate me until I was old enough to get a real accordion and lessons at Wurlitzer. I was so excited. After a few lessons, I started to learn some basic, familiar songs, such as “Jingle Bells” and “La Golendrina.” In a very short time I was adding
a few little creative licks of my own to these songs.
Each time I demonstrated my own creative improvisation, my teacher rapped the music stand with her baton. She told me to play the music just as it was written. Soon I began to stand up
for myself, telling her it sounded better my way. She would then tell me that it would take
some years before I could write my own music. Until then, I had to play it like it was written. The accordion lost a lot of its appeal when I had to do it strictly her way.
Fortunately, Dad saw the problem and wisely intervened. He began giving me a dollar each
time I got a gold star for my lesson. I could buy three sheets of popular music with that. Once
I had the sheet music with the words and the melody, I could sing and play the song any way
I wanted to. Not many aspiring musicians have the kind of father who will nurture individual creativity in contradiction to the system. I was extremely fortunate.
I was in third grade. It was spring. Spring fever was upon me. My seat in the classroom was toward the back of the room near the window. All I could think about was the outside — how blue the sky was, how billowy and fluffy the clouds were, how warm the sun was. Why did I have to sit here in this classroom, able only to dream of the outdoors and freedom? Soon my attention was captured by a hawk making circles in the sky. I kept watching the hawk as he glided gracefully through the sky. Suddenly I was in an open-cockpit biplane. I followed the hawk doing his circles.
In only a second or two I had become an aviator. I was flying my own airplane. As I followed the hawk, I got closer and closer. Finally I was flying beside him. I asked him what he was doing. He replied that he was practicing to be the world’s best-flying hawk. I was truly impressed. I asked if he minded if I flew along with him.
He said, “Not at all,” and suggested that, so long as we were going to fly together, I should call him by his first name, Henry. I then told him that my name was John. He said, “Hello John, I’m pleased to meet you.”
My grandfather always said, “Likewise, I’m sure”; so I said, “Henry, it’s likewise, I’m sure.” Suddenly we were good friends.
I told Henry that if he was practicing to be the world’s best-flying hawk and I did what he did follow-the-leader style; I could probably become the world’s best aviator. Henry thought that made sense and agreed to lead me through the stunts he knew. Soon we were doing loop-the-loops, stalls, dives and figure eights, and I was right on his tail feathers.
As I became more involved in the follow-the-leader exercise, I must have put my arms out like airplane wings and made roaring biplane-engine noises, because just when I was getting really hot, I was brought down to earth by a firm grip and pull on my right ear by my teacher. (In
retrospect, she either corrected an external rotation restriction or produced an internal rotation restriction of my right temporal bone.)
“Come back down to earth, young man. That’s enough daydreaming. We have work to do.
If you don’t get finished, you will have to go to summer school,” she told me in a stern, no-nonsense voice. I learned right then that fantasy is not allowed in the third grade.
These experiences are similar to those that occur in all our lives. They serve to demonstrate
that fantasy, imagination, talking to yourself, and so on, are all seriously discouraged from very early on at home and in most school systems. Because success in school depends largely on “paying attention,” “being real,” memorizing, and parroting, most parents try to get their children to let go of any embarrassing fantasy life at a fairly early age. Fantasy just isn’t productive. There may even be something “wrong” with the child who overindulges in fantasy.
I had occasion to work with and develop a rather deep friendship with a world-renowned psychic who had stayed in the closet about her talents until she was about 40 years old. Why? Because during the flu epidemic of 1918, when she was a very little girl, she went around the neighborhood wearing a little nurse’s hat and putting her hands on flu victims’ foreheads. Those people she touched got better. They told her mother about it. Her mother spanked her and told her not to do that anymore; it was bad. She said it wasn’t normal to be able to do that, and only witches did those kinds of things.
As therapeutic facilitators who make use of therapeutic imagery and dialogue in our work, we have to overcome this kind of negative indoctrination in many of our clients. After all, what is therapeutic imagery but active imagination and dialogue but talking to yourself? Usually if you talk to yourself enough, you get to spend some time in a rubber room; you might even get some drugs to inhibit your creative images and stop you from talking to them if they do form. Now
we come along, trying to convince the client’s brow-beaten, insulted and inhibited creative, imaginative energies that it is safe to come out and show themselves and let us see what they can do.
The fact that these talents are present in most of us is demonstrated by the wonderful success of Bill Cosby, Whoopi Goldberg, Robin Williams, Billy Crystal, and several other entertainers
who make it okay to visualize a chicken heart that is eating Chicago, or a kid named Fat Albert flattening a whole Buck Buck team, or a Valley Girl, or a silly old man on a park bench.
Audiences love to use their imaginations in settings where it is permissible. It becomes your job as therapeutic facilitator to convince clients that it is also okay to have an image of a very
wise old physician who lives inside them — a physician who can present in any form that they choose. This Inner Physician may show itself as a dove, a lump of coal, an angel, or anything else. It is possible that the Inner Physician may not present itself visually at all. It may present as a voice, a smell or a feeling. However a client’s Inner Physician chooses to present itself,
the person must be helped to understand that this wise being can provide good advice; it knows and understands the problems; and it can be of inestimable help in finding solutions.
Clients must also be brought to understand that, if done carefully and politely, a dialogue can be established between their Inner Physician, their conscious awareness, and you as the therapeutic facilitator. Once you speak directly to a client’s Inner Physician, the option is available to keep your conversation with that Inner Physician confidential and not immediately available to the client’s conscious awareness. I do this only at the request of the Inner Physician, however, or if it occurs spontaneously.
Amazingly, a symptom such as a back pain may be asked to present itself. Upon my request,
my own chronic back pain presented itself as a boomerang. It spoke with me and told me about itself and its purpose. It told me that it only hurt me when it was inflated, and what inflated it was anger. It led me to understand that anger will always come back at me like a boomerang
and give me a back pain. I understood. Now when I have that back pain, I search inside to see what I’m angry about. When I find it and discharge it, the pain leaves. It is amazing how often we humans are subliminally angry. I thank my boomerang for letting me know.
This productive use of imagination, creativity, imagery and internal dialogue flies in the face of what has been taught and conditioned into so many of us. We are conditioned to “get real” and “stay real.” As a result, the most difficult part of therapeutic imagery and dialogue may be initiating it and making it credible. The therapeutic facilitator has to be a good salesperson in this instance. To sell, you must believe in your product. If you are embarrassed, inhibited or skeptical of the efficacy of therapeutic imagery and dialogue, have someone work with you until
you are comfortable with its concepts and uses.
You may also discover that the client requires constant and literal reassurance and support as to the significance and credibility of what he or she is doing. This reassurance can be through
your words, with your tone of voice, with your touch and with your intention. These modes
may be used concurrently, interchangeably and individually as they seem appropriate at any given moment in any given session.
(Text excerpted from SomatoEmotional Release and Beyond by John E. Upledger, DO, OMM, Fifth Printing, 1999.)
It has been fairly common in my experience to have a patient who is literally full to the brim with potentially destructive emotions, such as anger, hate, guilt, fear, resentment, jealousy, or any combination thereof. You can usually feel these emotions as soon as you touch one of these clients. Sometimes you may be hit in the face with it when you enter the treatment room. Some
of you may even feel it before you enter the room. Destructive quantities of these emotions
have a way of getting your attention.
I used to think that it was best to discharge these destructive emotions immediately and then
look for causes. The next phase would be to focus on turning off the production or generator of the anger, guilt, or other destructive emotion by resolving the problem. More recently, it dawned on me that the energy which comprises these destructive emotions is the same energy that makes up such constructive emotions as love, joy and hope. It therefore seems logical that, in order
to conserve a patient’s energy and enhance self-esteem, it is preferable to convert destructive emotion into constructive emotion.
Now I usually ask the patient’s Inner Physician or Inner Wisdom, or whoever it is that I am in contact with, whether it would be possible and preferable to convert the destructive emotions to constructive emotions, thus conserving its inherent energy. When the answer is yes — as seems to be the case about 50-60 percent of the time — I proceed along this line, getting as much advice and direction as I can from the patient’s Inner Physician.
Slightly less than half the time, the answer is, “No, let’s just get it out of here,” or words to that effect. In this situation, I most often use my hands to help in the release or extraction process. Usually I have the patient localize the destructive emotion under my hands. Together we imagine that my hands are magnets that can draw the destructive emotion out of the individual’s body.
I used to have patients push hard from the inside, but I have come to realize that less physical effort on their part often facilitates the therapeutic process. Now I try to establish a “letting it go” rather than a “pushing it out” attitude.
There are two further issues that I should like to clarify before getting into the actual release
and extraction process. First, I like to explain to patients that as soon as the destructive emotion passes out of their bodies, we will neutralize it and have it converted to generic energy that can be used for constructive purposes by whoever might need it. This precautionary step serves to allay any concerns about polluting the atmosphere with destructive energy if they let it out of their bodies. (I have found that many people fall back on martyrdom and convince themselves that it is better to keep the bad stuff rather than release it into the atmosphere where it can damage other unsuspecting and innocent victims. You can defuse this line of defense by neutralizing the destructive energy as it leaves the body.)
Second, I like to explain to patients that they do not have to physically act upon the destructive energy as they feel it localize and release. For example, if we are discharging anger, I simply
let the patient know that he will feel angry as the energy precipitates, localizes and concentrates in the selected area of the body in preparation for release. I let him know that this anger can go directly out through his skin into the atmosphere. It does not have to be acted upon by kicking, screaming, beating on me, or trashing my treatment room. He can just let it go, and as it releases he will feel the emotion diminish and disappear.
At this point, I probably should explain my use of the words “destructive” and “constructive” as descriptors for the various emotions that we all feel. I used to describe emotions as “negative” and “positive.” Anger, hatred, jealousy, fear, resentment were negative. Joy, love, hope, serenity and the like were positive. I have encountered some confusion using “negative” and “positive” as emotion descriptors.
The negatives were undesirable and the positives were desirable emotions in my view. However, in the next sentence, we might discuss a negatively charged electrical atmosphere that is desirable for good health and function, or an accumulation of positive ions in an airplane cabin that becomes detrimental to health and function. So to avoid confusion, I am using “destructive”
and “constructive” as my descriptors for emotions.
I anticipate that some of you are feeling the hair stand up on the back of the neck. You might be saying, “Wait a minute, anger isn’t necessarily destructive. It may save your life in an emergency or help you survive later when you need energy to keep going.” This is true. Anger
might give you the superhuman strength to cripple Hulk Hogan were he to attack you. But when this anger continues, it becomes destructive. Anger is a spender. It demands of your heart, lungs, liver, stomach, colon, your entire physiology. It allows no quarter for the replacement
of what it takes from you. It works just like the sympathetic nervous system. It will save your life in an emergency and keep you going under stress, but it also will hasten your demise. It is destructive when the emergency is over and your life has been spared. Hate, anger, jealousy, fear and guilt will consume and destroy their owner if they maintain an ongoing residence.
I have also heard the argument that guilt and fear contribute to the construct of conscience and, therefore, are “good emotions.” It is true that guilt and fear (of punishment) may prevent you from robbing a bank, stealing a car, embezzling from your boss or killing your spouse’s lover. Still, it would be much more healthful — both physically and emotionally — if you did not commit wrongful acts because you love and respect humanity, because you are understanding rather than vengeful, because you tolerate a reasonable amount of unpleasantness that may have befallen you at the hands of others. None of us is perfect. We all need to understand this as we strive to improve.
Please tolerate my tendency to sermonize. Anyhow, it seems more appropriate at this time to describe emotions as destructive and constructive rather than negative or positive. I doubt that
I have to justify to these readers the idea that happiness, joy, hope, serenity, and the like, are constructive to the whole being.
Clinical observation and experience has demonstrated to my satisfaction that specific emotions accumulate in specific body organs. In large part, specific organ-emotion correspondences
agree with concepts put forth in traditional Chinese literature and in acupuncture. My first exposure to the idea that specific organs collect and store excesses of specific emotions came
in 1968 when I began studying acupuncture literature. I was very skeptical, but somehow my mind remained open to the possibility. (I can’t take credit for this openness on a conscious
level, but somehow it happened.)
Despite my initial skepticism, I have come to accept that the following correspondences exist and are reliable just because they keep showing up in patient after patient since 1968. These internal organ-emotional — we might call them “visceroemotional” — correspondences are as follows:
The liver collects, stores and is the seat of anger and depression. The first time I really became convinced of this relationship was when I treated a patient who was, at the time, an inpatient in
a psychiatric ward. She came to see me with her sister, who had obtained permission from the psychiatrist for a day pass. She had made three apparently valid but unsuccessful attempts at suicide. She was deep in depression; so deep, in fact, that speaking was an effort, moving was seldom voluntary and, to be honest, I could hardly see her breathe. Her skin color was a yellowish white and transparent. I could feel the hopelessness of this poor woman as soon as she entered my space. She was about 60 years old and had been divorced for 20 years. She had fallen into this depression about 10 years prior when an air crash killed her son.
Her liver felt like it weighed about 20 pounds and was like a bowling ball in both size and
consistency. I put my hands anterior and posterior on her body so that the liver was between them. She was supine on the treatment table. Attempting to release her liver in this way was like trying to dissolve a bowling ball with my hands.
I decided to try acupuncture for depression using Felix Mann’s recipe as given in his book Acupuncture: Treatment of Many Diseases. I put needles in acupuncture points Liver 6, 8 and 13 bilaterally. I went back to her liver with my hands and could feel it begin to soften and respond much more readily to my passage of energy through it. As the liver softened and released, I felt energy forces come from her skin in the front, back and right side where it overlays the liver. Her breathing deepened visibly; her color changed from yellowish white to pinkish white; she began to move a little voluntarily; and her face began to show traces of transient expressions. In short, she started looking less like a jaundiced zombie and more like an uncomfortable human who still had some fight left in her. I stayed with the liver until its release seemed complete. I did not dialogue with her, but I kept up a constant patter of encouragement in my mind. Silently I was urging her to let it go.
After her liver had softened and released the heavy energy that I assume was her depression,
she got a little feisty. She complained about the needles and how long everything was taking.
I then went to her craniosacral system and released the compression that was present in the lumbosacral junction, the occipital cranial base at the atlas, and between the sphenoid, petrous temporals and occiput. When she left, you could hardly tell she was depressed. Mostly she
was angry and complaining about everything.
I saw this woman on two more occasions at weekly intervals. I did additional manual release of the energy of anger from her liver. No further acupuncture was used. I treated the craniosacral system, releasing mostly temporal bone and tentorial membrane restrictions on the next two
visits. She was discharged from the hospital after her second visit with me because she had a “spontaneous remission of her depression.” (Her sister did not tell the psychiatrist that I was treating the patient when she took her out on the day passes.) By the third visit, she had
stopped taking all her medications. She remained fine for six months after our final session,
and I have not heard from her or her sister since.
This experience made me consider that perhaps a major depressive shock, such as the sudden
and surprising loss of a son, was absorbed into this woman’s liver. Her liver was overwhelmed by the size of the shock. It became a seat of anger at the fates for taking her son from her. It
also became a seat of despondency because there was nothing she could do about the death. Since the liver could not handle it all, it then became the ongoing source of the continuing depressive energy and underlying anger that contaminated her whole emotional being.
In my mind, I liken the liver to a filter. It might be considered similar to the oil filter in your
car. This filter acts as a cleaner of oil until the filter cartridge is full, then it becomes a source
of dirt for the oil in your car’s engine. If you change the dirty oil and put in clean oil but do not install a new oil filter, the dirty filter cartridge soon contaminates your new, fresh, clean oil. Perhaps this is what psychotherapy does for depression: It puts in clean oil; but if the liver filter isn’t cleansed or released, it constantly recontaminates the emotional being with depressive and angry energy.
This was a powerful lesson that this generous lady so unselfishly provided. Remember, every client you see is an educational opportunity. After this lesson with the liver as a filter, seat and storage bin for anger and depression, I was much more open to the idea that other viscera could filter out and store specific emotions.
The heart is the filter, seat and storage bin of the fear of being hurt by loving someone who may not return your love or who may desert you. An injured heart that is protecting itself against
the fear of repeating a similar experience will not allow its owner to give unconditional love. The owner of this protecting heart fears entering a true, loving relationship. These owners are afraid of getting hurt again. Some of this fear may be valid, but life without a true love relationship is an empty life indeed. It seems that to really love, we have to trust the person we love. This represents a risk which some people are not willing or able to take. These people may rationally want to love but are emotionally unable to do so.
The offer of conditional love — “I’ll love you if you’ll love me back” — is a sign that the fear
in the heart needs to be released if the patient is to enter a full and satisfying love relationship. An interesting sign of this fear in the heart that prevents unconditional love is the prenuptial agreement. It seems to say, “I love you, but I’m not sure, so just in case...” Release fear in
such a person’s heart and they may burn their prenuptial agreement.
Also be aware that unconditional love relationships do not necessarily have to be with a mate or of a sexual nature. It may be with a sibling, parent, friend or anyone else. Unconditional love leads to accepting other people’s imperfections as well as your own. Once we accept the imperfect state of humanity and have released the fear in our hearts, unconditional love for everyone can follow.
As I’m sure you know by now, I believe that examples and illustrations are very important aids to learning. Therefore, I give you the example of a female politician I worked with as a therapeutic facilitator for about three years. (Certain liberties are taken in describing her case in
order to protect her identity.) Originally she began to see me in order to discover why she was 50 pounds overweight and could not lose the weight. The more successful she became, the
more weight she gained and the less successful she was at dieting.
A lot of deep work showed several contributing factors to the weight problem. Among them were remembrances as a tiny child of her grandmother who, as a successful national politician, frequently talked in the patient’s presence about “throwing your weight around” in order to be
a success in politics. She also used to say that one had to be “big enough to cast a shadow that could not be ignored.” We also got into the idea that, as an adolescent, she decided the only
way to develop an ample bosom to attract male admiration was to be overweight. When she went on a diet, she lost breast tissue which, deep in her heart, she felt was necessary in order to be an attractive female. The patient was in her mid- to late-40s when I worked with her. She had borne three children with an alcoholic husband, whom she had divorced several years prior to becoming a professional politician.
All of these insights helped to some extent with the weight problem. She was able to lose and keep off about 25 of the 50 unwanted pounds. Then a romantic episode came into her life. It was the same man for whom she had wanted an ample bosom when she was about 14 years old and he was about 24. She now fell deeply in love with him but discovered that she was very afraid to answer yes to his proposal of marriage. She created a multitude of logical reasons to
be afraid, but she really wanted to love him and be with him. Among her reasons to decline his proposal were the following:
He wanted to semi-retire and sail the Caribbean on his yacht. She wanted to keep moving upward with her political aspirations. What if he cheated on her? What if he fell out of love after awhile? What if, what if, what if?
Her heart felt like a piece of stone in a pericardium that was made out of an unsanforized fabric designed for strength and durability which had shrunk and imprisoned the heart. The pericardium is the heart protector and will frequently almost strangle the heart in an attempt to protect it from further injury. I knew that the heart was very fearful of becoming involved in an unconditional love, and the pericardium was certainly doing a great job of insulating this fearful heart.
As we worked with imagery and dialogue toward manual release of the heart’s fear and pericardial overprotection, we came to a vivid memory of a time dating from about the first three days of
her postpartum life. She was brought in to be with her mother after she was cleaned and her mother had recovered from the anesthesia. She was put on her mother’s breast, but nothing
came as she suckled. This event recurred several times during the first few days after delivery. Finally her mother became exasperated and angry with herself. (This was described by the patient, who had become a third-party observer.) In her anger, her mother then rejected breastfeeding as a viable method of nurturing her child. The patient took the end of breastfeeding attempts as a personal rejection. She accepted her mother’s anger as being a result of something she was or had done.
During the first three days of her life, the patient’s pattern was set. She was afraid to love unconditionally because she would be rejected again. After all, she had loved her mother, and her mother had gotten mad at her and wouldn’t give her mother’s milk. The logic that she developed went something like this: “If you love, people see your faults; then they can leave
you or reject you.” A solid basis for fear of loving was put into place during the first week of
In addition, and I’m sure you can see it coming, the mother’s feeling of breast inadequacy was broadcast into the infant. As our infant grew to adolescence, she was determined not to have
the same inadequacies as her mother; so if she had to get fat to get adequate breasts, that is exactly what she would do and continue to do throughout her life.
Release of the pericardial shielding device and the stone of fear from this lady’s heart impacted her life significantly. She dropped her “what ifs” and married the man she loved with only
minor trepidation. They did some cruising on his yacht, and she liked it better than she thought she might. She also got out of politics after a few face-saving maneuvers. Today, she seems happy, content and deeply in love for the first time in her life — and she really trusts her husband. She is now vulnerable should her husband turn out to be a cad, but it seems that deep
and magnificent rewards require risk. On the other hand, if you believe and trust, there is no
risk because you know that all will be taken care of and work out for the best.
The pericardium is the protector of the heart. When the heart has been hurt, the pericardium springs into action and shields it from further injury. This is a wonderful defense mechanism, but it seems to me that, once called into action, the pericardium has a very powerful tendency to be overly protective. You cannot release the fear in the heart unless you release the pericardium, either at the same time or beforehand.
The example just given clearly illustrates how well the heart and pericardium work in conjunction with each other. I have had hundreds of examples from patients that demonstrate that there cannot be real unconditional love if the pericardium is busy protecting the heart. I frequently
use the pericardial meridian as a release valve. The access to this meridian that I most often connect with is on the volar surface of the wrist, where the meridian crosses the transverse skin creases of the wrist. I use this as a “sink” or drain for energy in the pericardium.
Place one hand over the pericardium on the left side of the anterior chest. With the other hand, place two or three fingers along the meridian at the wrist between the points designated P6 and P7 on Illustration 1. Now, imagine energy flowing from the chest to the wrist. (You can, if you wish, cycle it back from the client’s wrist, through your body to the client’s chest, thus completing the loop. Do so if it feels appropriate to you.) If you encounter stiff resistance in the meridian, send the energy back and forth between your hands so that it is going distal for a few seconds, then proximal for a few seconds, then distal again, and proximal again. Keep doing
this until the resistance wears down and the meridian feels open.
Once open, the pericardium can soften and relax. You may have to dialogue with the pericardium and try to convince it that the client really wants it to relax so that he/she can experience the joy of unconditional love. You may have to discuss trust, risk, vulnerability, and so on. The client may decide, along with the pericardium, to not take the risk. That is the individual’s choice. Your responsibility is to enlighten, not force compliance with your views and opinions.